By KLINT SPILLER
Special to The Telegram
HAYS — The Garden City High School boys' soccer team's didn't crush Thomas More Prep-Marian in its final regular season game, but the Buffaloes kept the machine well-oiled and running heading into the regional tournament.
Garden City (14-2) defeated TMP 4-1 on Monday at TMP Field. It was the identical margin that the Buffs beat TMP (4-9) by in the Wichita North Cup on Thursday.
It was the third time the two teams faced off against each other this season. TMP fell to Garden City in the earliest matchup 10-2 on Sept. 11 at Garden City.
"Overall, I think we played pretty well," Garden City head coach Joaquin Padilla said. "I think we controlled the whole game. I don't know how many shots they got, but they were not very many."
Garden City outshot TMP 21-9 and put 14 of its shots on goal.
Garden City junior Victor Herrada said he was pleased with the victory and said he didn't expect to mercy rule TMP.
"They are not a bad team," Herrada said. "Yeah, we have a pretty good record, but they are not a bad team at all. They did pretty well. We had a lot of shots. Maybe we just need to practice on making more of them, but overall, I thought we did pretty good."
The Buffs didn't score until the 29th minute of the match when senior defender Diego Benitez shot to the left of TMP goalkeeper Collan Lawson.
Garden City went into the half up 1-0, despite posting 12 shots.
"We just need to work on finishing," Herrada said. "I think we have a pretty solid team. Our midfield and defense are pretty solid, but our forwards just need to work on finishing."
The Buffs opened up the floodgates a bit in the second half.
Right out of the gates, sophomore Erik Barragan drove past the diving goalkeeper and kicked it into an open net in the 41st minute.
Senior Joel Sanchez put Garden City up 3-0 in the 63rd minute when he received a pass from Barragan and shot it to the right of Lawson.
The Monarchs surged late in the match and took advantage of a Garden City mistake. TMP senior defensive midfielder Carlos Duenes dribbled to the corner of the Buffs' side of the field and sent in a cross that bounced off Garden City senior Juan Carlos Rodriguez for an own goal in the 73rd minute.
However, Herrada brought his team's lead back to three in the 77th minute. Herrada kicked a high arcing shot that dropped behind Lawson and into the goal.
"I was pretty unsure it was going to go in, but I just went for it," Herrada said. "It was a one-time thing."
Herrada said he thought TMP looked more organized than in the two team's previous meetings.
"I think they have a lot of potential, but they need to work more on their touching," he said. "They know how to move around well by themselves, but they need to pass more as a team to actually finish."
Garden City officially will find out Saturday at the Class 6A regional seeding meeting who it will face in regional tournament next week.
Garden City (14-2) 1 3 -- 4
TMP (4-9) 0 1 -- 1
Garden City — Benitez, 29th minute.
Garden City — Barragan, 41st minute.
Garden City — Sanchez, 63rd minute (Barragan).
TMP — Own goal, 73rd minute.
Garden City — Herrada, 77th minute.
Goalkeepers — Luquin, Garden City; Lawson, TMP. Saves — Luquin 7; Lawson 10.